Cinema Scholars’ Most Anticipated Films –


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Fantastic Fest 2022: Cinema Scholars’ Most Anticipated Films –









































Cinema Scholars takes a look at some of the most anticipated films coming up at Fantastic Fest 2022. The festival kicks off on Thursday, September 22nd, and runs through September 29th in Austin, TX. Badges are available at https://fantasticfest.eventive.org/passes/buy.

Introduction

As one of the preeminent genre film festivals in the world, Fantastic Fest attendees have grown to expect a roster of must-see movies year after year. From esteemed Oscar bait to midnight splatter spectaculars, the punk rock ethos of Fantastic Fest has been a balm for those who embrace weird cinema. While the fest has played host to numerous high-profile releases like Parasite, Knives Out, and There Will Be Blood, true fans of the festival know that the real gold is found in the lesser-known official selections. Because of this unique pedigree, the annual Austin, TX celluloid celebration has become a sort of genre bellwether for the industry and fans alike. With this year’s line-up looking as promising as ever, here are a few of Cinema Scholars’ most-anticipated films coming up at Fantastic Fest 2022.

Smile

Director: Parker Finn
Country: USA
Running time: 116 minutes 
Premiere: World
Sosie Bacon in Smile. Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures
This year’s coveted opening night film slot goes to Paramount’s Smile. Though the differences are incredibly subtle, everyone knows a genuine smile from a creepy one. And the new trailer for writer/director Parker Finn’s new spine-tingler capitalizes on the latter with more than one leering visage setting an unnerving tone. 
In Smile, Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon) witnesses a horrifying accident that involves one of her patients. Soon after the incident, Rose encounters a series of disturbing situations that sends her on a mission to deal with her past to remedy her horrendous current situation.
Based on his well-received short film, Laura Hasn’t Slept, it now looks like Finn gets to flesh out his earlier work with even more eeriness as well as some reported hair-raising CGI. Here’s hoping that the feature-length effort leaves audiences with a satisfied and possibly maniacal, smile of their own. 

Blood Relatives

Director: Noah Segan
Country: USA
Running time: 88 minutes 
Premiere: World
Still from Blood Relatives, directed by and starring Noah Segan.
Still from Blood Relatives, directed by and starring Noah Segan.
Noah Segan is no stranger to Fantastic Fest. As an alum of Austin’s annual genre extravaganza with performances in several films including Dead Girl and Knives Out, Segan has been a fixture of the fest off and on for many moons. Taking a cue from fellow FF alum and longtime friend/collaborator Rian Johnson, Segan has taken the leap to directing with his first feature, Blood Relatives
The dark comedy follows Francis, a thirty-something loner who lives a quiet nomadic life. This sounds normal enough until you throw in that Francis has an aversion to sunlight, gets his super strength from a special liquid diet, and has been in his 30s for more than one decade. When his long-lost daughter (who shares some of his special genetics) shows up on his doorstep, she has some serious questions. 
Comedic genre films are always a breath of fresh air, especially with a roster dominated mostly by heavy-duty subject matter. Segan’s combination of the father/daughter dramedy with classic horror tropes looks to be a promising crowd-pleaser when Blood Relatives makes its world premiere at Fantastic Fest 2022.

Smoking Causes Coughing

Director: Quentin Dupieux 
Country: France
Running time: 80 minutes 
Premiere: North American
Production image from Smoking Causes Coughing, directed by Quentin Dupieux.
Production image from Smoking Causes Coughing, directed by Quentin Dupieux.
There are weird films, and then there are Quentin Dupieux-level weird films. It takes a special kind of filmmaking skill to create a movie that is both off-the-wall and strangely satisfying, and the French provocateur seems to have perfected the combination. From a murderous tire in Rubber, training a giant fly for profit in Mandibles, or an utterly backward police interrogation in Keep An Eye Out, Dupieux has made a career creating hilarious and thoughtful films despite the ludicrous subject matter.
His latest effort, Smoking Causes Coughing, focuses on a team of superheroes who call themselves the Tobacco Force. When fissures within the tight-knit vigilante group start to grow, members like Methanol, Mercury, Ammonia, and Nicotine decide to head to the mountains for a team-building retreat in hopes of reunifying their purpose. Will the group’s resolve return in time for them to fight their evil nemesis and his lizard henchman to save the world from imminent destruction? Honestly, who knows in a film from a director who laughs in the face of normalcy? 
In any case, Smoking Causes Coughing is sure to leave a lasting impression. Surprising to no one, the film is being billed as one of the festival’s strangest entries, which means something considering Fantastic Fest’s established high bar for the bizarre. 

King On Screen

Director: Daphné Baiwir
Country: France, USA, Belgium
Running time: 105 minutes 
Premiere: World
Production still from King On Screen, directed by Daphné Baiwir.
Production still from King On Screen, directed by Daphné Baiwir.
When you think of films at a genre festival, documentaries are not usually the first that come to mind. As it turns out, there is a plethora of infotainment subjects that fall under the genre umbrella, and in recent years the Fantastic Fest programming team has selected many docs that fit their off-center bill perfectly. And who better to immortalize in documentary form than one of the most prolific and adapted authors? That’s right, horror maestro Stephen King gets the bio-doc treatment in the much-anticipated King On Screen.
In King On Screen, director Daphné Baiwir pays tribute to the literary legend by interviewing many of the filmmakers who have taken on Stephen King’s work. Featured alum such as Frank Darabont and Taylor Hackford discuss the reasons why King’s stories have been adapted for the screen or series over 80 times by 50 different directors. A distinction that earns King the title of “most adapted living author.” 
With over 25 different directors featured in the film, such an exhaustive look at the ins and outs of bringing King’s stories to life should be fascinating for hardcore as well as casual fans alike.
On a side note, as part of Fantastic Fest’s ongoing live podcast lineup, the fest will play host to the latest and greatest in film-centric pods, The Kingcast. Hosted by Eric Vespe and Scott Wampler (former writers for Ain’t It Cool News and Birth.Movies.Death, respectively), The Kingcast features a new guest each episode who presents their favorite Stephen King adaptation. Now part of the Fangoria Podcast Network, The Kingcast has won legions of followers and even scored their ultimate guest- the author himself. 
And now they are bringing the fun to Fantastic Fest. No word on their guest, but with the level of talent that usually kick around the festival, it’s one of the events (outside of film screenings) that is not to be missed. 

Decision To Leave

Director: Park Chan-wook
Country: South Korea
Running time: 138 minutes
Premiere: US
Park Hae-il and Tang Wei in Decision To Leave, directed by Park Chan-wook.
Park Hae-il and Tang Wei in Decision To Leave, directed by Park Chan-wook.
Hot off his Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this summer, Park Chan-wook is returning to Fantastic Fest with his latest film, Decision To Leave. 2018 saw the visionary filmmaker debut his scandalous period thriller The Handmaiden at the festival to rave reviews. So, it’s no surprise that Chan-wook’s latest foray is at the top of many a well-curated list. 
The story follows Hae-jun, a detective investigating the death of a hiker who fell from a cliff. To rule out anything nefarious surrounding the tragedy, Hae-jun’s investigation finds him interrogating the victim’s widow. Though her indifference makes the detective suspicious, the more answers he uncovers the more questions he has about the case and himself.
The U.S. premiere of Decision To Leave at Fantastic Fest will have Park Chan-wook in attendance for the screening as well as to accept a lifetime achievement award for his prodigious filmography. 

Conclusion

Fantastic Fest 2022 kicks off on Thursday, September 22nd, and runs through September 29th. The festival takes place in Austin, TX at the South Lamar Alamo Drafthouse Theater. Badges are still available at https://fantasticfest.eventive.org/passes/buy.

Read more Cinema Scholars festival coverage!

Must-See Films From SXSW Film Festival 2022

The 2022 Sundance Film Festival: Opening Coverage

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